The fight for control of the Senate is still up in the air with Democrats gaining ground every day that Trump and the GOP continue to be the most corrupt ruling administration in American history. Considering the Senate should have been an easy win for Republicans, this is bad (if you're a Republican, that is. It's great if you're an American that cares about the rule of law).
But what's happening in Texas is going to be keeping Republicans who are paying attention awake at night with cold sweats:
Among the bright spots for Democrats: U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas had a 2-percentage-point lead over Cruz among likely voters in the state and U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had a 3-point lead over Republican congresswoman Martha McSally in the race to succeed U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, one of Trump’s most vocal critics from within his own party.
The finding suggests that O’Rourke has a shot at becoming the first Democrat to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate in a quarter century.
There's a lot of reasons that Cruz is falling behind O'Rourke. O'Rourke is a particularly strong candidate and this is Cruz's first time fighting off a challenge as a Senator. He's not doing a particularly good job of it, relying on crude tactics and bizarre attacks. At the same time, Cruz's unpopularity with Trump voters is depressing his numbers while Trump's unpopularity with O'Rourke's voters is giving him a boost.
But when push comes to shove, Texas is on an unstoppable path to becoming a purple state with a rapidly growing Latino population and a declining percentage of angry white racists. The more Trump and the GOP attack Latino communities, the more they're going to mobilize to vote. And sooner than later, the massive voter suppression Texas Republicans have in place won't be enough to keep Texas reliably red.
When that happens, the Republican Party is well and truly screwed. Texas is the foundation of the GOP. Its 36 electoral votes are irreplaceable, a problem the Democratic Party does not have. I've written about this before to explain just how vital Texas is.
Let’s put it this way:
If Texas had voted blue in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won the entire Northeast, from Pennsylvania and New Jersey all the way up to Maine, and still lost.
If Texas had voted blue in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won the entire Great Lakes region including Minnesota and Iowa and still lost.
If Texas had voted blue in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won the entire West Coast including California and still lost.
If Trump had lost Texas in 2016, he still would have won the electoral college but only by a single vote. Does anyone seriously think Republicans and the Russian are going to be able to pull off fooling enough voters again to keep Pennslyvania or Wisconsin red for 2020 much less 10 or 20 years from now when Texas is a full-blown swing state? Even if they do (and they won't), it won't be enough to replace Texas. Texas is everything to the GOP.
A Democrat winning a Senate seat will energize Texas Democrats in ways we simply can't predict. It will presumably set off a firestorm of new voter suppression and dirty tricks from Republicans but in the long run, there's a limit to how many votes they can steal before they have to openly rig elections in broad daylight. Texas really is a microcosm of the demographic doom that awaits the GOP on a national level. Watching how they react to a loss in Texas will give us a clue as to how they plan to hold on to their illegitimate power over the next ten to twenty years.
It will also be a lot of fun watching Republicans completely freak out so get the popcorn ready.